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Andre Gray was stabbed in the face when he was attacked in a nightclub and still has the scar

Andre Gray opens up about how being stabbed in the face on a night out triggered his huge transformation: ‘It pushed me to live out my dreams’

  • Andre Gray was stabbed in the face but since completely turned his life around 
  • He was attacked on a night out in 2011 and left with a four-inch scar on his cheek 
  • The Watford striker battled his way to the top from non-league football 
  • He turned to self-education and changed his mindset to become a better person 
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Andre Gray has opened up about how being stabbed in the face ‘pushed me to live out my dreams’ and football helped steer him away from a path he admits ‘probably would have ended up in jail.’ 

Watford striker Gray has turned his life around completely now and is hoping to hit the 15-20 goal mark in the Premier League having left his old distractions behind and battled his way to the top-flight from non-league football.

He is also a totally different character off the pitch having turned to self-education and worked on changing his mindset in order to become a better person.

Andre Gray was stabbed in the face when he was attacked in a nightclub and still has the scar

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Andre Gray was stabbed in the face when he was attacked in a nightclub and still has the scar

The Watford striker has worked hard on himself both on and off the pitch since 2011

The Watford striker has worked hard on himself both on and off the pitch since 2011

The Watford striker has worked hard on himself both on and off the pitch since 2011

And the biggest, life-changing point in the 28 year-old’s transformation came when he was attacked in 2011 while on a night out in Wolverhampton, a shocking incident that left him with a four-inch scar on his left cheek.

Gray was at Hinckley United at the time having already been released by Shrewsbury in 2010 ‘for what I was doing off the pitch. It was gang stuff. I wasn’t focused, I was up to no good at home. Getting into trouble every other day.’ 

On the effects of the traumatic stabbing Gray said, in a wide-ranging interview in the new edition of GAFFER Magazine: ‘I remember looking in the mirror. Waking up and still seeing it was there. It wasn’t a dream.

‘I knew I just had to get on with it. I knew I couldn’t change it. That’s the way I’ve lived my life ever since. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to be involved in situations. It’s how you deal with things after.

Gray is mixing it with the Premier League elite having made it from non-league football
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Gray is mixing it with the Premier League elite having made it from non-league football

Gray is mixing it with the Premier League elite having made it from non-league football

‘How you learn from things. That is the moment that drove me on and pushed me forward. I parked it literally the day after.

‘It just focused me. It pushed me to live out my dreams, to do something with my life, do something positive with my life and keep driving forward.’ 

Despite his off-field issues at Hinckley, Gray was prolific on the pitch and earned a move to then Conference Luton Town which also proved key to his career upturn.

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He said: ‘It was exactly what I needed at the time. I wasn’t completely out of what I was doing and that was the one thing I needed; to move out of Wolverhampton.

‘It was the first opportunity I had to do that, it gave me a chance to just start again and be away from it all and just focus. It was a blessing.

Gray credits the move away from Wolverhampton with helping him focus more

Gray credits the move away from Wolverhampton with helping him focus more

Gray credits the move away from Wolverhampton with helping him focus more 

‘Most of it is mindset. That’s what I trained myself to do, I knew that was what it was going to take to move forward ‘I moved away and lived on my own and got my head down. I had no choice but to do it. That’s what I needed. I always felt like I needed to be backed up in a corner to push myself.

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‘I don’t know where I’d be now if I didn’t play football. I probably would have ended up in jail at some point.

‘I’ve always been a driven person and wanted to do something productive in my life but not having that platform would have been difficult.’ Gray’s goals earned him further moves to Brentford, Burnley and, in 2017, Watford.

The 28 year-old opened his account for the season on Saturday against West Ham and said: ‘I want to score 15-20 goals a season in the Premier League. That’s my big dream.

‘I’ve got to a point where I’ve done everything that I set out to do and more. I’m living my dream. It’s just about now, finding that other level to go push for. That’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what I want to do. You always have to be hungry. Right now, I’m hungry for more success and, more importantly, hungry to be a better person.’

The forward believes if he hadn't made it in football then he would have ended up in jail

The forward believes if he hadn't made it in football then he would have ended up in jail

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The forward believes if he hadn’t made it in football then he would have ended up in jail

The 28-year-old is covered in tattoos, including Muhammed Ali's famous knockout image

The 28-year-old is covered in tattoos, including Muhammed Ali's famous knockout image

The 28-year-old is covered in tattoos, including Muhammed Ali’s famous knockout image

The full cover interview with Andre Gray available in the second edition of GAFFER Magazine, out today (Thursday August 2019). 

The second edition also features interviews with other inspiring stars in football, culture and music including Christian Pulisic, Ada Hegerberg and Maya Jama.